News briefs


SUV kills skateboarder

A skateboarder died Tuesday after a vehicle struck him shortly before 7 p.m. at Herndon and Temperance avenues, said Clovis police.

The youth, who was in his midteens, was riding his skateboard west on Herndon, in the crosswalk of the intersection, when he was struck by a full-size sport utility vehicle southbound on Temperance, said police Cpl. Vince Weibert.

The SUV driver, a woman in her 40s, was not hurt, Weibert said. The boy was found in the roadway just south of the intersection. Medical personnel determined he was dead at the scene. His name was not immediately released.

Officers from the Clovis Police Department's Traffic Investigations Unit were on the scene Tuesday night. Police said it did not appear that alcohol or drugs were a factor. The intersection is controlled with a traffic light.

Holiday without driving fatalities in Fresno

Holiday drivers in Fresno navigated the Thanksgiving weekend without a traffic fatality, police said Tuesday.

Sgt. Dave Gibeault cited police drunken driving checkpoints as contributing to the city's safe record. He said those checks will continue in coming weeks.

An overnight checkpoint for driver's licenses and intoxicated drivers at northbound Abby Street and Olive Avenue led to the arrests of three people on charges of drunken driving and the impounding of 19 vehicles, Gibeault said.

Pixley-area man held in Tulare home invasion

Tulare County sheriff's deputies arrested Ignacio Zavala, 22, of Teviston, near Pixley, on Monday in connection with a home-invasion robbery in the Tulare area.

Deputies said Fidel Lopez was at home Monday when three people he knew entered and struck him with something metal. He called deputies, who arrested Zavala.

Cal Poly fraternity pledge dies after night gathering

An 18-year-old Cal Poly fraternity pledge died early Tuesday after a night gathering that may have involved alcohol, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

Residents of the home of a Sigma Alpha Epsilon member called 911 at 6:24 a.m. after finding freshman Carson Starkey unresponsive. The students unsuccessfully attempted to administer CPR, and emergency officials could not revive the student.

Starkey, of Austin, Texas, was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, where he died. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.


Man guilty of carjacking in high-profile case

A Fresno man has been convicted of carjacking in a case that prompted a top local television executive to resign because of comments he made as a potential juror.

A Fresno County Superior Court jury Monday afternoon found Esteban Valenzuela, 22, guilty of carjacking, car theft and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm. The jury deliberated less than three hours. Prosecutor Michelle West said in closing arguments that Valenzuela held a shotgun when he confronted the victim and stole his vehicle from his home near Valentine and Shaw avenues early on Aug. 5.

Valenzuela faces about 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 30.

During jury selection, Judge Gary Orozco dismissed an entire pool of 50 potential jurors after one of them -- executive Bob Hall of KFSN (Channel 30) -- said he couldn't be a fair juror because research by the station's newsroom showed a propensity for Hispanic males to commit violent crimes.

Hall later made an on-air apology and resigned as president and general manager of the station.


Smoke killed two victims of Hanford house fire

The two men killed in a house fire in Hanford on Sunday died of smoke inhalation, the Kings County Coroner's Office said Tuesday.

A positive identification is not expected until later this week, the official said. However, friends and family have identified the men as Anthony Park, 23, of Hanford and Tony Rachal, 22, of Lemoore.

A forensic dental exam is expected to be performed on the victims in the next few days, said Thomas Edmonds, Kings County's chief deputy coroner.

The men died in the fire at 117 W. Cameron St. about 7 a.m. Sunday. The cause is under investigation. Hanford fire officials have ruled out arson.